Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: The 8 Best Features
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is the latest and greatest flagship phone from Samsung, and it comes with some exciting new features. It seems the approach Samsung has followed with the handset is quite simple: identify everything that the S22 Ultra was good at and make it better.
Although the S23 Ultra doesn’t look all that different from its predecessor, it’s the inside where the handset has received the biggest upgrades. In this article, let’s explore some of the top features of the S23 Ultra and show you whether it’s worth the upgrade.
1. New 200MP Main Camera
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is the first Samsung flagship with a 200MP camera. With the new ISOCELL HP2 sensor, Samsung is promising significantly better low-light performance, improved dynamic range, and more detail.
You can choose from three resolutions: 12MP, 50MP, and 200MP. A higher resolution mode is better suited for daytime whereas a lower resolution mode uses pixel binning technology to shoot in darker places. Note that using the 200MP mode greatly increases shutter lag and is not ideal for capturing moving objects.
Remember, increasing the number of pixels only increases the maximum resolution that the sensor can capture. This means your photo will retain more detail even after zooming in, but it doesn’t necessarily result in a better overall image.
Things like color science, dynamic range, and shutter speed are instead dictated by image processing algorithms, the chipset, and how well everything is optimized. Also, a larger resolution photo will take up more storage space.
2. Improved Videography
Alongside better photos, the device now allows taking 4K portrait videos (aka cinematic video) and uncropped 8K videos at 30fps. The main camera now has a 2X wider correction angle for Optical Image Stabilization that helps reduce camera shakes.
For low-light videos, Samsung has tuned its image-processing algorithms to reduce noise, overexposure, and excessive color saturation which were some of the key complaints about the S22 Ultra’s low-light videos. There’s also a new Astro Hyperlapse mode that allows you to take hyperlapse videos of the night sky.
3. Bespoke Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Chip
The Galaxy S23 Ultra comes with the latest 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and boasts a 34% boost in CPU, 41% in GPU, and 49% in NPU performance. But there’s a twist.
The Snapdragon chip inside the S23 Ultra is unlike any other: Samsung has partnered with Qualcomm to develop a special overclocked variant of the new chip exclusive to Galaxy devices called “Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy”.
That’s a horrible name, sure, but it can give the S23 Ultra a slight edge over all other Android flagships in the market carrying the same chip—at least in terms of benchmark scores.
Samsung is also getting rid of its in-house Exynos chips and only using the Snapdragon chip for all S23 models in all regions. This is great news since Exynos chips are infamous for underperforming against their Snapdragon alternatives. Now, all S23 devices will offer uniform performance no matter where you’re buying from.
4. Faster Storage and RAM
Thanks to the latest UFS 4.0 storage standard and LPDDR5X RAM, the Galaxy S23 series is now faster and more responsive than ever. This is a big deal because UFS 4.0 offers double the read and write speeds than its predecessor UFS 3.1 and is also 46% more efficient.
This means—at least in theory—that the S23 Ultra can open and save big files twice as fast as the S22 Ultra all while using slightly less battery life. UFS 4.0 is going to be necessary for the era of 5G and emerging VR technologies.
In addition, LPDDR5X RAM clocks a maximum speed of 8.5Gbps while its predecessor went up to 6.4Gbps. Just having more RAM doesn’t make your phone faster, its quality and clock speed matter a lot too, and are among the reasons why iPhones use less RAM.
5. 256GB Base Storage
The Galaxy S23 Ultra comes with a base storage of 256GB instead of the standard 128GB. This is helpful if you plan to carry your phone for a long time and click a lot of photos, shoot 8K videos, and download movies and graphics-intensive games.
Just to be clear, 128GB is enough for most people, but on a phone that is designed for media consumption and heavy use, it’s certainly not enough. So, it’s a good decision to provide 256GB of storage on the base model and 1TB on the maxed-out one.
6. Design Changes and New Colors
Although the design is mostly unchanged, you will notice that the S23 Ultra has flatter sides than its predecessor which allows it to reduce the curvature of the front glass, help you secure a firmer grip, and allow more surface area to use the S Pen with ease. The camera rings are also slightly bigger this time.
You’re also getting new colors including Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender. Just like last time, you can get exclusive color options including Graphite, Lime, Sky Blue, and Red if you buy directly from Samsung’s official website.
7. Gorilla Glass Victus 2 Protection
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is protected by the latest Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front and back. Corning claims the glass can withstand drops up to one meter on surfaces as hard as concrete and up to two meters on surfaces replicating asphalt.
This means even if you’re among the minority of people who don’t use a case or screen protector, you can rest assured that your device will be safe from accidental drops.
8. Lots More Small Upgrades
We also have a bunch of minor improvements that are worth highlighting. For one, the loudspeaker quality has been noticeably improved to sound fuller and cleaner. The vapor chamber is now slightly larger to allow for better cooling while gaming.
Samsung is also working with various app developers to optimize popular social media apps and games to work better on Galaxy phones, so you won’t get the same cookie-cutter experience found on other Android phones.
The battery life should also be slightly better thanks to the more efficient chip. And lastly, from a sustainability angle, Samsung is increasing the use of recycled materials to produce some of the components of Galaxy devices, including the front and back glass.
S23 Ultra Is All About Cameras and Power
The Galaxy S23 Ultra brings some notable improvements over its acclaimed predecessor including a more powerful and efficient chip, an enhanced camera system, more and faster storage, faster RAM, and Gorilla Glass Victus 2 protection.
Don’t forget the device still has a built-in S Pen, is protected by Samsung Knox security, and offers four years of major OS updates and five years of security updates.
In a nutshell, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Samsung: a clean, powerful, and super-refined flagship. You can skip the S23 Ultra if you already own the S22 Ultra, but for those who have an older model, the device is a solid Android companion.